he'd given her one morning
each wrapped in shiny foil.
All varying shades
of pink and crimson.
She'd eaten on straight away,
while she was in bed.
It was what she always did with chocolate.
Later on she'd pull too hard on the wrapper.
The wrapper holding the hearts
and watch as they tumbled,
haphazardly over the floor.
Another morning, later;
they passed in the kitchen.
They didn't speak, except in elephant,
and shuffled as they went about the
"early morning" business of their lives.
realizing it was over.
She'd pulled the strings once too often.
All they had left were broken hearts.
Slowly, lazily, she eases
herself into the morning.
The light is jagged,
it cuts her eyes.
Her hand touches the space
beside her, it is warm.
Closing her eyes she listens
for the drone of his shaver.
In the silence it is pleasant
like a summer's day.
Later, mid-day approaches
wraps itself around her like a blanket.
The warmth holds her.
She touches the space that has gone cold
listens for the absent hum that
reminded her of summer,
tries to tie together loose ends,
make sense of goodbyes.
The gulf between them was wider
than the distance that separated
them at the breakfast table.
He didn't speak anymore. Never
good with words,
he couldn't find the right ones.
She had learned to despise. It had
taken 23 years. But now, here she was,
tongue tied by anxiety.
He caught her eye across the breakfast
carnage and smiled. They'd talk tonight.
He'd sort the words out in his head.
She saw his smile and returned it.
He felt better. Things would be ok.
He got up and left.
No goodbye. No kiss. No I love you.
10 minutes later,
she closed the door for the last time.
Margaret Holbrook is a writer of plays, poetry and fiction. She lives in Cheshire, UK and has had her work published in several anthologies, most recently Schooldays published by Paper Swans Press, and in the following magazines, Orbis, SLQ, The Dawntreader, The Journal, The SHOp, Reflections, Areopagus, the caterpillar. Her first poetry collection, Hobby Horses Will Dance, was published in 2014. Margaret leads the Creative Writing Workshops for Chapel Arts in Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire.